News of the Federal Returning Officer

March 31, 2017

Amendment of the Federal Electoral Regulations

The Federal Electoral Regulations as promulgated on 19 April 2002 and last amended on 13 May 2013 have now been amended by the 11th Ordinance of 24 March 2017 and entered into force today (Federal Law Gazette I p. 585).

The amendments adopted mainly serve to improve the processes involved in preparing and conducting Bundestag elections.

To make it easier for municipalities to recruit poll workers and in recognition of their voluntary work in Bundestag elections there has been a graded increase of the refreshment allowance paid to the chairpersons and other members of the electoral committees and electoral boards (Section 10 (2)). In order to facilitate the work of the poll workers, the design of the election record they have to fill in has been improved and its content simplified. It shows how the election result was determined and established in the polling district (Annex 29) and the postal ballot (Annex 31).

In addition, the secrecy of the ballot and the protection of the election against unlawful third-party influence on the voters’ decisions have been enhanced: making photos and videos in the polling booth is expressly prohibited (Section 56 (2), second sentence). In the case of non-compliance the electoral board has to turn the voter away in accordance with Section 56 (6), first sentence, no. 5a.

The application for entry in the voters’ register for Germans living abroad (Annex 2) has been revised. It is now available for download.

See also: Complete up-to-date version of the Federal Electoral Regulations